International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2022
Each year since 1987, 17th October has been observed as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year, the theme is dignity for all in practice, as there are many people living in persistent poverty who experience their dignity being denied and disrespected.
Closer to home
Far too often when we think of poverty, we’re thinking of individuals in nations far from us, yet the current reality shows that 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty throughout the world, with 14.5 million of those living in the UK – equating to one in five people – including children, working adults and the elderly.
When poverty is spoken about, a group that is often overlooked is the student population. Whilst the cliché of a ‘poor student eating pasta’ is often used to describe their cooking abilities, poor students are eating plain pasta because the reality is, for some that’s all they can afford.
The student situation
It’s no secret nor surprise that the cost-of-living crisis is fuelling the fire. Research conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS) of 3,500 university students, college students and apprentices across the UK has revealed that a third of students have a total monthly allowance of £50 after paying their rent and bills.
Most students surveyed said the value of their maintenance package is not enough to afford the weekly shop, transport them to their education provider or pay their ever-increasing energy bills.
For most students, the maintenance package offered is means-tested based on their household income, however, this can have a detrimental impact on their university experience.
Students will be offered lower packages if their parents are higher earners, yet this doesn’t necessarily mean that their parents have the disposable income to trickle additional money down to their student-aged children. They may have other expenses to consider such as other dependants, mortgages, bills and debts. This also makes the assumption that parents are willing to fund their child’s university experience, and this isn’t always the case.
This, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis, is starting a worrying chain of events for more than one in ten students who are accessing food banks, and an increasing number are turning to their savings, credit cards and bank loans just to get by.
The long-term cost
With everything rising but their student maintenance loans and grants, it’s going to have a big impact on their mental health and their future earning potential, according to an article published in The Guardian last year.
The NUS survey suggests the crisis is having a devastating impact on student wellbeing, with 90% of students reporting an impact on their mental health, and 31% reporting this to be a ‘major’ impact.
GP and mental health expert, Dr Dominique Thompson said: “Money is one of the biggest stresses for students. I would say that it’s probably in the top three things that, as a GP, I would see students worry about.”
According to Student Minds, ‘poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder. And worrying about money can make your mental health worse. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle’ that has the propensity to have a long-term cost to students.
What can universities do to help students?
Grants, bursaries, scholarships and more
Most universities have grants, bursaries, and scholarships available to certain groups, but not all who are eligible are aware of this. Highlighting that these options are available and ringfenced for them is important, as well as highlighting that there is a hardship fund that they can access should they need to.
Providing training for students to understand their money and budgeting in addition to helping them to understand credit and finance, which will help them to learn that perhaps utilising payday loans and buy now, pay later schemes isn’t the best thing they could be doing for themselves by spelling out the impact on their credit score should they miss repayments or borrow too much.
Highlight all costs on course pages
In addition to displaying the fees on course information sites to prospective students, highlight that there may be additional costs needed for textbooks, field trips and more that would require some financial planning for most students.
Provide course materials
Students are often surprised at the additional costs that are passed onto them when they arrive at university, especially when it comes to course materials, with Times Higher Education estimating that students spend the equivalent of £60 on university materials, including their textbooks.
Let students be remote if they need to be
If a student wishes to access the lecture remotely, allow them to do so. Perhaps they cannot afford the transport, maybe they can’t afford childcare or maybe they haven’t eaten that day and don’t want the embarrassment of a rumbling stomach.
What is Kortext doing?
Learn without limits
To help make learning more accessible, we’re offering students the cheapest way to purchase their textbooks with an additional 25% off digital bookpurchases from the Kortext Store.
Brand and Student Ambassador schemes
We are running a series of brand and student ambassador schemes across the country, giving students the chance to earn whilst they learn to support them financially on their learning journey, as well as academically too, with a 25% discount on their course books.
Kortext Arcturus platform
Within our platform, Kortext users many of our partner universities can access 10,000 Open Access and Open Education Resources for free, which can help provide the essential and supplementary reading necessary to complete their course and achieve those higher grades.
Mental health support
Within our platform, users have a direct route to Student Minds’ Student Space for mental health support and advice when they need it most.
For information on this, tap here to get in touch.